With the help of a newly-signed contract, Bavarian Nordic will supply the US government with an additional 1.8 million doses of its monkeypox vaccine. US officials expressed their confidence in reducing the number of monkeypox cases in the nation with this new development. The number of confirmed cases has reached 13,500 as of this point.
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the country’s current patient population accounted for one-third of the 39,000 globally confirmed cases. The Department of Health and Human Services warned that the nation should begin a widespread vaccination campaign to stop monkeypox from spreading to more states during a White House briefing attended by various heads of offices.
“It’s critical that we do all we can to keep this dangerous virus from spreading,” stated Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services secretary.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is preparing to ship over 360,000 vaccine vials to states next week. Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, announced that US states could order a vial equivalent to 1.8 doses of vials.
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Newly-approved method expands shots per vial
Thanks to the newly-approved method of administering the vaccines, which was announced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, each vial would now be equivalent to five shots of the vaccines. Jynneos vaccines from Bavarian Nordic were previously designed to reach the deeper layers of the skin. Intradermal injections, however, reduce the amount of vaccine that must be injected, increasing the number of shots per vial.
“In recent weeks, the monkeypox virus has continued to spread at a rate that has made it clear our current vaccine supply will not meet the current demand,” stated FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf.
Bavarian Nordic voiced worries about the new method’s security though. According to the company, there isn’t enough evidence or research to back up the method’s safety. Additionally, intradermal injections may cause patients to react more negatively.
“In authorizing an unapproved use of an already approved product, the FDA is ensuring the vaccine meets high standards for safety, immune response and manufacturing quality,” Califf said in a tweet.
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US continues to fights Monkeypox
The states and other health departments that are allowed to administer the vaccine intradermally should have used up 90% of their current supply of monkeypox vaccine. The facilities would have access to the monkeypox doses that the US government ordered from Bavarian Nordic.
The US announced that it would make TPOXX, an antiviral product from SIGA Technologies Inc., available to Monkeypox-positive patients. The state and local health departments will also have access to 50,000 treatment courses starting next week.
In addition to the current stock of state and local health departments, Biden says that a number of vaccine doses have been set aside for regions with a concentration of high-risk groups. “HHS is launching a pilot program that will provide up to 50,000 doses from the National Stockpile to be made available for pride and other events that will have high attendance of gay and bisexual men,” added Bob Fenton, the White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator.
In a separate report, the health department found that men make up more than 98% of all documented cases of monkeypox in the country. 93% of those figures are contributed by men who have sex with other men, which is a small decline from the 99% in July.
According to the CDC, countries where monkeypox has spread frequently exhibit the sexual transmission pattern seen in the current case in the US. For instance, 40% of women and 60% of men are responsible for the recorded cases in Africa. Since the 1970s, monkeypox has been present in Africa.
When race and ethnicity are taken into account, the cases in the US are made up of 35% white, non-Hispanic people, 28% Black people, and 33% Hispanic people. The median age is 35 as well.
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